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College Scholarship Essays: 10 Plus Ways to Create Cool Essay Topics

Apr 2, 2008
Need some ideas from your own life to write about? If you want to get scholarships and grants, expect to write essays. And to write essays, you will need great ideas.

Make Your Essay Sparkle
To get those ideas flowing, write down what you think of as you ask yourself the questions below. Make a list of a few items for each question. When you finish, you will have a great source of details and experiences you can use for your scholarship essays and cover letters.

To make it easier, try running through the list with your family or good friends. You can work on one person at a time or do everyone at the same time, just make sure you help generate ideas. Maybe you all have a shared experience with politics or a certain club. You can all use a similar experience if your view presents a different side of the event or a new perspective.

Different scholarships will want different kinds of essays. Some will provide a detailed prompt that asks how you have been affected by an event or a subject, like aerospace. Others will request that you pick an issue in the news and explain you views and possible solutions. In any scenario, you will have to provide details and ideas to bring the concept to life. This list will help.

Write down ideas for each question with as many events, insights, memories or activities as possible. Lean on past experiences. Summarize each item with a short statement that will help you remember what it means, and then continue writing. You could say "Music Camp last year" or "Club trip to museum in March". That will do for making up your list. You just need to capture the ideas, and you can build on them later.

1. Where have you been? Make a list of places you have visited and general impressions of those places. I remember getting off a plane in Dallas in August. The air was thick, and humidity hit me like a wall. List towns, national parks, sightseeing places, foreign countries, beaches, rivers, sports arenas, islands, and so on.

2. What classes have you taken, in high school, college, or on your own?

3. Remember your projects, papers, presentations and reports. Did any require more than you expected? Do you remember the first time you finished a long paper? Why? What stands out?

4. Make a brief set of your ambitions and hopes. What will you do with your future? Where will you go? How will you contribute? Will you exceed the speed of light? Relieve hunger? What else?

5. Put together a short list of mentors and role models. Do you wish you could be someone? Who? Why? Mentors and role models embody something you want to be or have or do. Each one represents one or more qualities you want to develop or achievements you hope to equal or surpass.

6. What do your family and friends see in you? What value do you have in their lives? In what way do they rely on you?

7. What superpowers do you have or would you like? How could you acquire them?

8. What would you consider your weaknesses? Have you overcome any that you can share?

9. Why do you expect to win this scholarship award, other than to pay tuition?

10. List your top movies, books, musical pieces (modern and classics), plays and any other works of art you can think of. Have these affected you for better or worse? Can they teach you?

You don't have to answer every one. The list and the writing can take a long time, but I suggest you complete the list in an evening or a couple of evenings at most, to keep the process crisp and quick. Then, move on to writing a few practice essays for various scholarships you know you want to apply for.

By creating your list of ideas, you turn on the creativity inside. When you write, you will have access to more of your experience to put down on paper. Stories and details from your life will make your essays more memorable and provide more connections to the prompts or subjects you have to include in your writing.

Once you start writing, find some friends and advisors to proofread your essays before you send them out. You'll need suggestions on what to change to improve the flow, any typos they find, mistakes in style, active verbs instead of always passive voice, and so on. Make revisions and keep to the length assigned.

Also, keep your answers from the idea list you made. You can use it later for more scholarships and for college applications, too.
About the Author
Need more tips on scholarship programs? Come to my scholarship information page and download my free grant program ebook here to help you in your search.
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